Samoa Muffins





I used to be a morning person.Samoa Muffins (Ellie's Bites)

I used to get up way before I had to be at work and I would exercise. Yes, exercise, then I would go to work, and I would get to work at least 30 minutes early- before anyone else got there- and I would drink my coffee and read my newspaper (well, I’ll be honest- do my crossword puzzle and read my comics). Then I got married. And I didn’t exercise in the morning any more, but I still woke up really early, and I would make my husband these really creative sandwiches on really interesting breads from places like Panera. And I would still get to work early and do my crossword puzzles and read my comics.

coconut and caramel

Then I had kids. And I stopped exercising, and I stopped making cool sandwiches. And I stopped being a morning person. Because, as it turns out, I can only be a morning person if I go to bed at 9pm and who am I kidding? Now, I no longer do my crossword puzzle or read my comics, and I drink my coffee cold about two hours after I get to work. And I get to work about 30 seconds before I am supposed to be there. Samoa muffins unbaked

And, guys, I’m really tired right now. Because I had to be at work at 7am today, and normally I don’t have to be there until 12. And I have this weird feeling, that although I made it through the day, and I did everything I was supposed to do, I’m not entirely sure I ever woke up! Is that weird?samoa muffins baked

I’m just going to stop talking now and share this recipe. Because it tastes really good and it’s not terrible for you. These  muffins will not make you a morning person if you’re not already one, but they will help to get you through that 10am slump. Or the 4pm slump….samoa muffins with choc and caramel

Samoa Muffins (Yes, like the Girl Scout cookie that is also known as a Caramel Delight)


  • 1 cup of toasted desiccated coconut (*)
  • 1 cup of caramel sauce (**)
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I realized as I started making these that my husband had pilfered the last of the chocolate chips, so I used the only thing I could find in the house- a Nestle Crunch bar leftover from Halloween. Crushed)
  • 4 TBSP melted butter (cooled)
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • chocolate coconut drizzle (***)
  1. (*) Toast your coconut. Heat oven to 325f. Spread coconut in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and heat for about 5 minutes, watch closely, until browned.
  2. (**) Make caramel sauce. I used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and halved it. Or use store bought.
  3. Mix 1/2 cup of coconut with about 1/2-3/4 cup of the caramel. Mix until the coconut is coated and crumbly, almost like a streusel.
  4. Preheat oven to 400f and line a 12 cupcake pan with liners.
  5. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  6. In another bowl, mix together the egg, sugar, milk and vanilla. Add butter and stir
  7. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix until just incorporated. It may be lumpy, that’s ok.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips and the rest of the toasted coconut.
  9. Scoop the batter evenly into your cupcake tins.
  10. Top with the caramel/coconut mixture and press the crumbs gently into the top of the muffin.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Make chocolate drizzle (***) Mix together 1 tbsp melted coconut oil, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate mixture over the muffins.
  13. Drizzle on some of the caramel sauce.
  14. Enjoy!

Please note- these muffins are not a substitution for actual Girl Scout cookies. Please support your local Girl Scouts!

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Inspiration Challenge {Love}

I wouldn’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist, but what do you think the chances are that this winter’s freakishly cold temps and heavy amounts of snow are all masterminded by Disney’s marketing department as a tool to promote the movie Frozen?

Think about it.

Just…. think about it.

We’ve seen it three times. In the theater. Do you know how expensive it is for a family of four to go to a movie theater? The soundtrack is on in the car. Every time we get into the car. And last week, when we dropped Ben off at daycare, we got out of our car as another father and daughter were opening their car door. And guess what was playing in their car.

Still think it’s a coincidence?

I know I’ve got Frozen on the brain! When I was brainstorming ideas for this month’s Inspiration Challenge (cohosted with Melissa at Simply Sweets by Honeybee), I couldn’t help but think of the movie where only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you may not get this (but I can’t imagine you haven’t seen it….). At one point, Anna asks Kristoff if he’s some sort of “love expert”. He replies “no, but I have friends who are.” So I made Kristoff’s friends. The love experts.

Frozen Trolls Love Experts Oreo Truffles

If you saw the movie, you get why I wrote “Sven’s friends”. If you didn’t see it, just go on thinking it’s a typo. Then go see the movie. It will also explain why the love experts are rocks.

Frozen Trolls Oreo Truffles

I’m not a cake pop maker. Cake pops and I  have a love hate relationship. I love to eat them, hate to make them. These are Oreo truffles. A thousand times easier, and OMG, drop what you’re doing and shove three in your face amazing.


  • 18 Oreos
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • candy melts (to get the grey, I used 1 cup of pure white and 1/4 cup of black)
  1. Crush those Oreos into teeny tiny crumbs.
  2. Mix together the crumbs with the cream cheese until the crumbs come together and a soft dough forms (I found it easiest to use a hand held mixer)
  3. Using a tablespoon sized scoop, form the crumb mixture into balls and set aside.
  4. Melt the candy melts together as per the package instructions.
  5. Drop a ball of crumb mixture into the melted candy coating and roll it around until it’s covered. Slide a fork or slotted spoon under the ball and lift it out of the coating. Gently tap the fork on the side of the bowl to shake off the extra candy coating.
  6. Set the ball on wax paper. Sprinkle with green coarse sugar or sprinkles. Allow to harden completely.

This makes about 18.

Frozen Troll Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

This is what Kristoff’s friends really look like. If you’re more into cookies. I didn’t make a tutorial, but I used a Hello Kitty face cutter to make them.

Now, head over to Simply Sweets by Honeybee to see the gorgeous cookies she made. I “LOVE” them! And make sure you add a link to your love-themed project to her Linky Party. And start thinking about March’s Inspiration Challenge: The Sky.

If you like this, you may like

Kiss Me Cups (Guest Post by Ellie)

Kiss Me Cups by Ellie (Ellie's Bites)

We are now on our fifth day of winter break, with eight days to go. So far, we’ve managed stay busy, but I’m getting a little nervous that we have already crossed so much off of our to-do list! Will we be able to hold off the cabin fever? Will we wind up booking a last minute (and way out of this year’s budget) trip to Disney World? Tempting. We’re taking it a day at a time.

Today was tough. It’s Christmas and we are Jewish. Usually Hanukkah falls around the same time so we have SOMETHING to do on the 25th when everything is closed, but Hanukkah was sooooo early this year that we are really just sitting around the house today. We took a break from movie watching and Magna-tile playing to throw together a little treat. It’s made using left over Christmas kisses, but it would also be perfect for (should I even say it?) Valentines Day (too early, sorry). Anyway. It’s easy to make with the kids if you need a diversion. I’ll pass the computer over to Ellie now!

Kiss Me Cups (Ellie's BItes)

Me,Mom and Ben came up with the name Kiss me cups because every time Mommy was ready for Ben to put on a heresy kiss on it,Mommy said “Kiss me!”The way to make our DELICIOUS kiss me cups you need:1 bag of good quality chocolate chips.(We used Ghirardelli milk chocolate)24 candy cane hershey kisses-unwraped.12 oreos cut into quarters.

Thats all we need.Now this is how you make it:

.Line the cups of a mini cupcake pan with liners.

.Melt the chocolate chips.(Half power for one minute.Then half power for 30 second intervals,stirring between intervals.)

.Scoop a little bit of chocolate into the cups.(or use a squeeze bottle.)

.Press in two quarters of an oreo,press  the cookies into the chocolate.

.Scoop a little more chocolate on top of the cookies.

.Press a hershey kiss on top.

.Chill in the refrigerator  for at least 20 minutes.

.Enjoy:)(After lunch or dinner!)

Kiss Me Cups Collage (Ellie's Bites)

And thats how you make our DELICIOUS kiss me cups.


Me and my family and friends went to the christmas light show last night.I liked the guy shooting presents from a cannon into a present bag!They even told us to put on a certain channel on the radio so we could hear Christmas music while we drove through !The snowmen kept waving their hand telling us which way to go!It was a drive through!

Kiss Me Cups Photo by E (Ellie's Bites)

P.S.Merry christmas to who celebrates Christmas!

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

As much as I love the crispness in the air as summer turns into fall, and the bright red, orange, and gold leaves against the clear blue sky, and the excitement up and down the street as kids emerge from their homes eager to show off their Halloween costumes and fill up their bags with candy, I just can’t bring myself to get excited over the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I have nothing against it. I can’t help the fact that I am a straight up coffee drinker. Black coffee, please. But, if I’m going to indulge in a coffee drink, it’s going to be a peppermint mocha.

Peppermint Mocha Cookies (Ellie's Bites)


So we’re running out the door in about five minutes to grab a quick dinner then head over to a party. And I’m bringing these. Before we leave, I wanted to share the recipe just in case you need to bring something to a party this weekend. Because these are so good and and so easy to make!

Peppermint Mocha Cookies 2 (Ellie's BItes)


Peppermint Mocha Cookies

  • 1 Stick of butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 oz chocolate (I used 5 mini Hershey’s Bars because that was all I had in the house) melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 1/4c all purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 small bag of Candy Cane MnMs
  1. Preheat oven to 375*. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In stand of mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the two sugars.
  3. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat continuously until incorporated.
  4. Add the egg, beat. Then add the extracts and beat again.
  5. Add in the flour, salt, baking soda, and espresso powder. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Beat in the MnMs. Really crush them up. If you want to, you can crush them before adding them by placing them in a plastic bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.
  7. Scoop dough with a tablespoon measure onto the lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 2 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Mom Mom Mary’s Mandel Bread

Mandel Bread 1(Ellie's Bites)

I was hesitant for so long to share this recipe. I never felt like it was MY recipe to share. It’s was my great grandmother’s recipe and then it was my grandmother’s.

Mandel Bread- Cutting (Ellie's Bites)

Over the past year or two, though, I’ve become the baker in the family. It’s a given that I will be the one to bring desserts to family dinners and “providing cookies at work during major holidays” is now one of my actual job responsibilities. Then a few months ago, I signed up for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. One of the qualifications to participate was, believe it or not, being an actual food blogger. I’ve been writing through Ellie’s Bites for almost three years and I never felt like an official food blogger until I was approved to participate in this cookie swap. Well, this occasion called for a special cookie!

Mandel Bread Sprinkle with Cinnamon

I asked my mom if she minded that I share the recipe with the world (also known as my readers!) and she gave me a funny look like “why do you think you even need to ask?” and said “of course I don’t mind.” So, here it is!

Mandel Bread (Ellie's Bites)

Mom Mom Mary’s Mandel Bread (Almond Bread)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (I actually just give a handful of almonds a quick pulse in the food processor)
  • cinnamon and sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray three loaf pans with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together the oil and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add eggs and mix.
  4. Add extracts and mix.
  5. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. It will be very thick and sticky.
  6. Stir in the almonds.
  7. Divide batter between the three pans (roughly 1 1/4 cups per pan) and gently shake the pan until the dough spreads along the bottom of the pan.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes (watch for the last 5-10- it only took mine 40 minutes)
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes, turn out of the pan and allow to cool for 10 more minutes.
  10. Slice each cake into 1/2 inch slices and lay on their sides on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Watch carefully and remove when tops start to brown.
  11. Let cool.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013Thank you to Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen for organizing The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and raising over 13,000$ for Cookies For Kids Cancer!


Inspiration Challenge {Lazy Sunday Mornings}

What do “Calvin and Hobbes” and “Peace and Quiet” have in common? On the surface,  absolutely nothing, right?! But, if you think about it for a second, you’ll realize that they are two things that I haven’t seen on a Sunday morning in way too long. (And two things that I miss dearly!)

When Melissa and I were brainstorming topics for this year’s challenges, I came up with this one. This year, Ben started Sunday school. Since he’s with the three year olds, he only goes twice a month, but if you remember, my husband has worked every Sunday for the last almost three years. This would be the first time in ages that I would have a WHOLE TWO HOURS to myself on a Sunday morning.

I had grand plans for those two hours. That is until I realized that every other parent whose children are in Sunday school, also goes to Starbucks to sit and read for two hours and there was not an empty seat to be found. So I spent that first morning walking so slowly and meticulously around Target that I’m sure security had a camera fixed on me.

Anyway. Lazy Sunday mornings. I’m not too sure I remember how to do them right.

Coffee Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

I am pretty sure that heaven is probably waking up to the sounds of Sunday Morning With Charles Kuralt, dragging my teenage butt down the stairs to bagels and lox, a hot cup of coffee, the Sunday comics, and not a care in the world. And what I wouldn’t do to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning now. To drink it while it’s still hot. To drink it before it gets knocked over by a preschooler and his Harry Potter Halloween costume Quidditch broom.

And that’s why I made these cookies. Coffee Roll Out Cookies (Ellie's Bites)If you’re not a coffee lover, then these cookies aren’t for you. If you’re a coffee liker- you’re good. My inlaws are tea drinkers and I’m pretty sure they were responsible for the damage done to this platter of cookies. If you’re coffee obsessed, then I’m warning you not to taste the row-dow (what Ben calls raw dough, and what we all now call raw dough). You won’t make it to the point of rolling them out. The dough itself tastes like the best coffee ice cream you have ever tasted.

If you’re lucky enough to make it to the point of baking the cookies, you won’t regret it.

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp coffee extract
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg and extracts and mix well.
  3. Sift flour, espresso powder, and salt into the butter mixture and beat until smooth and the dough comes together.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment.
  5. Turn the dough onto a generously floured surface and knead gently into a smooth ball. Roll out to 1/4 inch. Cut out shapes and place on lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 9-12 minutes (check after nine, if the cookie still looks wet in the middle bake a little longer. I have a double oven and my baking time varies greatly depending on if I use the top or bottom section, and what kind of baking sheet I use.)
  7. Remove from oven, let cool for five minutes on the baking sheet then remove to a rack to cool completely.

*note- I got my coffee extract at Sur La Table and I saw it shortly after, and much cheaper, at Homegoods. If you can’t find it, use three tsp espresso powder and increase vanilla by 1/2 tsp.

*You should get 18 cookies or so depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

Icing Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp coffee ext
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • Chocolate Brown food coloring gel (I used Americolor)

Here’s where you can have a little fun, too. I added 1 tsp of espresso powder and an extra 2 tsp of coffee extract. I like my coffee to taste like coffee. But there are so many flavorings out there! If you like a good pumpkin spice latte, add a half tsp of pumpkin spice emulsion to your icing. If you like Irish coffee, add a tsp of whisky (boil it for at least two minutes to reduce the alcohol content first if you want). My point is, the possibilities are endless. Coffee goes with everything.

  1. Place all ingredients into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  2. Beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary, for about two minutes.

If your icing is a little thick, add some more water 1/2 tablespoon at a time. You want it to be a one step consistency (also known as 20 second icing) thick enough to outline, but thin enough to flood with. Drag a knife through the icing and count the seconds until the icing smooths over again. It should take a count of 10-20.

Coffee Cookie Collage (Ellie's Bites)

  1. Outline one half of the cookie with the icing.
  2. Immediately fill in the outline. Wait 10 minutes or so for the icing to crust over a little bit.
  3. Outline the other half of the cookie and…
  4. Immediately fill in the outline. Allow cookies to dry for several hours if you plan to package them.

Now, I can’t wait to see what Melissa has made for us! Go check it out at Simply Sweets by Honeybee and while you’re there, you can link up your {cookie, cake, recipe, craft} Lazy Sunday Morning themed project.

Now I’m brainstorming next month’s project- “Naughty or Nice”. It just sounds fun!

Sweet And Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Now that Halloween is over, those pumpkins on the porch have a limited life span. If you haven’t carved them yet, before you toss them into the woods for the animals to enjoy, make sure you remove and save the seeds!

This is only the second time the kids and I carved pumpkins- I’m not a huge fan of sharp knives (used in close proximity to my children) and cold pumpkin guts, but I’m glad we did. Especially since we were able to make a yummy and healthy snack!

Pumpkin Carving

Once you get the seeds, wash them well to remove any of the orange pulp. Spread the clean seeds out on a towel and let them dry out for a day. Then line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the seeds out in a single layer. Roast them at 300F for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let the seeds cool until you can handle them. Increase the oven temperature to 350F.

Sweet and Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Ellie's Bites)



  • About two cups of dried and roasted pumpkin seeds (we used the seeds from two large carving pumpkins)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a large bowl, mix the coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well until combined. (Use a whisk to break up the honey if it’s giving you a hard time).
  2. Carefully add the cooled pumpkin seeds (the baking sheet may still be hot, even if the seeds are cooled) and stir until coated well.
  3. Spread the seeds onto the parchment lined baking sheet and return to oven for another 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, and let cool completely.

You’ll have to take my word for it that these were addictive, since there wasn’t enough left to get a second opinion by the time Bryan got home.

Inspiration Challenge: October {Junk Food} Oh- And A Giveaway!

****Giveaway is closed, winner has been notified by email******

We’re baaaaaack! (It’s almost Halloween so it’s expected that you read that in little Carol Anne’s voice.)

I’m not actually talking about classic horror movies, though. I’m talking about those inspiration challenges that Melissa from Simply Sweets by Honeybee and I used to do. It turns out that exes may be exes for a reason, but fun projects that you did with your friends can be revisited over and over.

We changed the rules a little this time around. When it comes to our monthly topics, we’re not limiting our projects to cookies. We will be doing cookies, cakes, cupcakes, recipes, or crafts. Anything we want as long as it is inspired by the topic of the month.

This month, we’re talking about “junk food.” You know- since Halloween is coming up and all.

Dark Chocolate Potato Chip Donut (Ellie's Bites) October 2013 Challenge Junk Food

I tried to gear my project to the junk food that may actually be LEFT in your kids’ trick or treat bags after a few weeks. It’s all well and good to come up with a recipe using peanut butter cups or Skittles. But good luck finding those, even the next day. If the kids didn’t get to them, I guarantee the husband did. But potato chips? Yeah. They’ll still be there.

And what is more “junk food” then putting junk food on top of junk food?

So, I made these donuts from scratch. Yeast dough, pot of very hot oil, glaze bath and all. I wanted to push myself a little. If you want to make them, you certainly can. I’ll tell you how I did it at the end of this post. If you don’t want to fry them yourself, I won’t judge you. Just pick up some plain glazed donuts from the bakery and read on!

Dark Chocolate Covered Donuts with Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips (Ellie's Bites) October 2013 Challenge Junk Food

You will need: Plain glazed donuts, chocolate ganache glaze, and chocolate covered potato chips.

First, make your chocolate covered potato chips.

  • A small bag of chips. I couldn’t find a small bag with ruffles although they would be ideal. I used Kettle Cooked chips with sea salt. Just make sure you are using a chip with some substance to it. I don’t recommend baked chips. And I certainly don’t recommend sour cream and onion flavored.
  • 4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate.
  1. Break chips into small pieces and spread in a single layer on parchment.
  2. Melt chocolate in a clean, dry, microwave safe bowl. (Try microwaving it at half power for one minute then stirring it, then half power for 30 second increments, stirring in between) Do this until the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the potato chips. Let them sit until the chocolate is set.

Make your chocolate ganache.

  • 4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  1. Heat cream in a microwave safe bowl until it is hot to the touch.
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a small bowl (make sure the bowl is wide enough to fit your donuts).
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk together the cream and chocolate until it’s smooth.

Assemble your treat.

  1. Dip the top of your donut into the chocolate glaze.
  2. Sprinkle the chocolate covered potato chips on top.
  3. Let the glaze set then enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Potato Chip Donut October 2013 Challenge Junk Food (Ellie's Bites)

And now a little thank you for being such a good friend! First, head on over to my Facebook page. There, right under the cover photo, you’ll see an icon that looks like a present. Click on that and follow the instructions. That is good for the chance to win these little goodies I picked up at Sur La Table. (Sorry for the cheesy cell phone picture!)

****Giveaway is closed, winner has been notified by email******

photo halloween baking goodies

Then go over to Simply Sweets by Honeybee to see what junk food she came up with ( I don’t even know. We decided with this round of challenges, no sneak peeks!) While you are there, you can enter to win another prize! Also, she just did a major page overhaul, so make sure you take some time to look around.  At some point this month, you can link up your own junk food inspired project!

Keep an eye out for our November challenge! The inspiration is “Lazy Sunday Mornings”. Don’t forget, you can come up with a cookie, a cake, a recipe, or even a craft.

You can find the recipe I used to make the donuts here. They are, for lack of better words to describe them, OMFG good (drool).

Pumpkin Coffee Cake Birthday Cake

So, you say it’s your birthday? It’s my birthday too! It’s really impossible to say that without thinking of Anthony Michael Hall trying to figure out how to ask Molly Ringwald for her panties, right? Since I’m thinking of it, I might watch Sixteen Candles tonight. I can, because it’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want.

And if I want a coffee cake- loaded with crumbs and filled with sweet sugary buttercream- I can have it because it’s my birthday and I bake the cakes around here.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake (Ellie's Bites)

In the spirit of fall (my favorite season because it’s the season my birthday falls in, NOT because it’s trendy!!) I made this a pumpkin coffee cake. By substituting half of the butter with pumpkin, I made it healthy because pumpkin is a vegetable and it’s filled with fiber. And coffee cake is breakfast, so here is a vegetable that you can eat for breakfast. See? Healthy. But why do I care? It’s my birthday so the calories don’t count anyway!

Pumpkin Coffe Cake (Ellie's Bites)

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Crumb Topping

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 stick butter (10 tablespoons) melted
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the butter
  2. Drizzle the butter over the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine until large crumbs form. Set aside.


  • 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (I love this post from Joy The Baker to make my own)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 2 yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and prepare two 8in round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Using a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, beat in the pumpkin puree.
  4. Add eggs, and yolks, one at a time, mix together, then add the vanilla.
  5. Slowly add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Follow with half of the buttermilk, 1/3 flour mixture, the other 1/2 of the buttermilk, and the last 1/3 of the flour. Mix until everything is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed.
  6. Divide the batter between the two pans, and sprinkle the crumb topping onto one of the layers, pressing the crumbs down into the batter.
  7. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then carefully turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. (I put a plate on top of the pan, flipped it upside down so the cake fell onto the pan, then put another plate on top to flip it crumb side up, then carefully slid the cake onto the rack.)


  • 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Heavy whipping cream (enough to reach desired consistency)
  1. Using paddle attachment, beat together the butter and shortening until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. (Add the vanilla after the first 2 cups of sugar)
  3. Drizzle in the cream until the frosting is as thick or thin as you want it.
  4. Mix in the salt.
  5. Spread on top of the layer of cake without the crumbs. Top with the layer with the crumbs.

Pumpkin coffee cake 2 (Ellie's Bites)

Enjoy with your coffee!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake Slice (Ellie's Bites)

Pear And Ginger Cake

It’s been a little while since I have shared  recipe. Or shared anything for that matter.

This cake, though, needed to be shared. Like, immediately.  Just in case you wanted to make it for the weekend. Because if you want it for the weekend, you really need to make it now since this particular cake tastes so much better the next day. And if you want to make it now, you might want to check that you have all of the ingredients. Because, even if you have all of the ingredients, you may find that the orange juice is a little lower in the carton than you expected it to be. And, upon questioning (interrogation), your husband may admit to having drank directly from the carton. Then you’ll need to factor in the twenty minutes it will take for your husband to run to the store for more OJ.


Pear and Ginger Cake 2 (Ellie's Bites)


I have made the Jewish Apple Cake from Smitten Kitchen every Rosh Hashana for the past three years and every year it gets rave reviews. Last week, at my inlaws, I was sneaking a second (or third) slice when it occurred to me that I didn’t have to wait until next year to make this cake again. (Especially since I am hosting the Break Fast tomorrow after Yom Kippur.)

Pear Ginger Cake 1 (Ellie's Bites)

The cake itself is absolutely delicious. The outside gets a bit crispy and sweetly crusty so that you need a serrated knife to cut it properly without mushing the insides. And the inside. Well, lets just say it melts in the mouth. Enough said.

Pear and Ginger Cake (Ellie's Bites)

It is an AMAZING apple cake recipe, but I wanted to play around with other flavors to see if other combinations could compliment the cake as nicely as the apples in cinnamon. And this incredible (if I do say so myself) pear and ginger cake was born.

Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

Fruit Filling

  • 3 Pears (the riper and jucier the better) I used Bartlet.
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger

Peel and dice the pears into 1/2 inch cubes. Don’t stress if some skin remains. Mix the pears, sugar, and spices in a small bowl and put aside while you mix the rest of the batter.


  • 2 3/4 cup flour (sifted)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (no pulp)
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two loaf pans with non stick spray and parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the oil and sugar. Add the vanilla and orange juice and mix.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just wet (it will be very thick).
  5. Add eggs, and mix well.
  6. Scoop one cup of batter into the bottom of each loaf pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter so it covers the bottom of the pan. Scoop about 3/4 cup of the pear mixture and sprinkle it across the batter in the bottom of each pan. Divide the remaining batter between the two pans and carefully spread it over the pears (the pears probably wont be completely covered).
  7. Bake for about an hour. Check the cakes after 45 minutes. If a toothpick inserted near the center is still wet with batter, but the top is starting to darken, cover the pans loosely with a sheet of foil. If after 45 minutes, the toothpick comes out clean, simply remove pans from oven and allow to cool. If you wind up taking the cakes out of the oven early, don’t forget to turn off the oven. (Shouldn’t need to be said, but sometimes I speak from experience.)


  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Mix together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cakes.

This cake definitely tasted better the next day. I used powdered ginger, as opposed to fresh, and the taste was a bit subtle, but there was a kick. If you like it spicier, by all means, increase the amount of powdered ginger or use fresh ginger.